Fact check

President Obama is falsely claiming his administration’s policies are responsible for “about 10 percent” of the deficits “over the last four years.” The cumulative deficit during that time is nearly $5.2 trillion. Obama signed two bills — the 2009 stimulus and the 2010 tax cut — that alone cost $1.6 trillion during that time, or nearly a third of the cumulative four-year deficit. The Treasury analyzed how the U.S. ended up with $6 trillion in deficits over the 10-year period instead of amassing $5.9 trillion in surpluses — as originally projected by the CBO in its report. The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2002-2011. CBO and the nonpartisan Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative each did their own postmortem analyses of what happened from 2002 to 2011. Without apportioning blame, both reports found the accumulation of legislation changes — tax cuts, war spending and stimulus measures under both presidents — was the “main driver.”

Mitt Romney claims President Barack Obama caused a doubling of able-bodied persons on food stamps by taking “work out of the food stamps requirement.” That’s an exaggeration. All but four states had already received waivers from specific work requirements for some or all of their residents before Obama became president. A law signed by President Bush in November 2008 also expanded the criteria under which states could provide extended unemployment benefits. According to the USDA list 01/08/2009, under the 2008 law, before Obama took office, only Delaware, Iowa, New Hampshire and Vermont were listed as having no current waivers. Former President Clinton said government got the TARP money back plus interest. That is correct for the money that went to banks. It is incorrect for TARP as a whole. The program remains about $34 billion in the red.

The Government is not God PAC has released a series of outlandish ads in Florida and Ohio: “Barack Hussein Obama will ... force doctors to assist homosexuals in buying surrogate babies; ... force local authorities to allow Occupy protesters to live in parks ... force courts to accept Islamic Sharia law in domestic disputes.” None have any truth. Recent email claims that President Barack Obama has signed 900 executive orders, some of which create martial law, are untrue. Obama has not issued 900 executive orders. He has signed slightly fewer orders than President George W. Bush during this point in his first term. Obama has issued 139 executive orders as of Sept. 25. Bush issued 160 executive orders through Sept. 20, 2004, a comparable amount of time.

Obama has been sidestepping Congress through his “We Can’t Waite” initiative, a series of executive actions that he claims benefit the middle class through infrastructure projects and economic policy changes. Obama’s use of executive power is not unprecedented compared with previous presidents. Bush signed several controversial “signing statements” that claimed he had the power to disregard certain provisions of a law, a presidential action that historians trace back to James Monroe. Ornstein, of the American Enterprise Institute wrote to FactCheck in an email that Obama “does not hesitate to use executive authority, but he is well within the mainstream of his modern predecessors.”

Rating their Promises: Kept—GOP 21%-Obama 38%; Compromised—GOP 9%-Obama 15%; Broken—GOP 19%-Obama 17%; Stalled—GOP 3%-Obama 9%; In the works—GOP 18%-Obama 21%; unrated—GOP 28%-Obama 0%.